Rise Naperville, suburb's first recreational marijuana dispensary, holds grand opening; 2 more on the way

ByDiane Pathieu, Mark Rivera, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Naperville opens first adult-use weed dispensary, 2 more on the way
There's been a steady stream of people in and out all day at RISE Naperville, the city's first adult-use marijuana shop.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Rise Naperville, the suburb's first recreational marijuana dispensary, held its grand opening Thursday morning.

Profits from first-day sales will benefit the anti-hunger agency "Loaves and Fishes."

Rise renovated it's former medicinal only shop on Quincy Avenue to now be a retail store, hiring dozens of employees in the process to help out an expected big turnout.

RELATED: Illinois Weed Legalization Guide

"We will continue to be the good neighbors that we are, giving back to the community, creating jobs and tax revenue for the city," said Rise Illinois District Manager Derrick Levy.

There's been a steady stream of people in and out all day at RISE Naperville. Ron Vavra was the first customer.

"It's about time, it's 50 years in the making, all of that revenue that towns have lost all these years, so they finally did it, they made it legal for recreational use. I think it's fantastic," he said.

And talk about revenue. During the month of September, nearly $100 million in combined adult-use and medical cannabis was sold in Illinois. Around $431 million in recreational marijuana has been sold since legalization.

Adult-use cannabis sales went up to $67 million last month with tens of millions in tax dollars collected already.

Naperville initially banned recreational marijuana sales before it became legal on January 1. The city said it would put the idea up as a ballot initiative to gauge whether residents wanted it or not. A March referendum shows 53% of Naperville residents support recreational marijuana sales.

"It didn't seem like there was enough support for either group to have a majority," said Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. "Ultimately we agreed, hey look, let's just put this to the voters."

A March referendum passed showing voter support for recreational pot. Chirico said there was a stigma surrounding adult use dispensaries.

"But at the end of the day, these businesses add a great deal to our community," he said.

Chirico added that stigma is changing. Many people in line at Rise Naperville said they are grateful for this new addition.

People don't understand that housewives smoke weed," one woman said. "It's just wonderful to have access because hopefully the stigma will lighten year after year."

Also grateful, 88-year-old first time customer Barbara Dean.

"I'm hoping to be coming out happier," Dean said.

The Mayor said two more cannabis dispensaries are set to open by the end of the year in Naperville.

Profits from this first day of adult use sales were donated to a local food bank.

RELATED: Illinois medical marijuana dispensaries issued 'same-site' licenses to sell weed starting Jan. 1

Recreational marijuana became legal in Illinois as of January 1, 2020.